Jump to content

Welcome to Geeks to Go - Register now for FREE

Geeks To Go is a helpful hub, where thousands of volunteer geeks quickly serve friendly answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts. Register now to gain access to all of our features, it's FREE and only takes one minute. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more.

Create Account How it Works
Photo

Removing personal data from a harddrive


  • Please log in to reply

#1
Wumbo

Wumbo

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
Sorry if this is the wrong forum or a tedious question.

I have an old laptop for which I'd like to remove personal data from the harddrive so that I can give it away (the entire laptop). I would just reformat it, but I don't have any OS disks to do that. It is Windows 7, but used to be Vista (it used to be my brothers, and he hoped this would make it faster for some reason).

Is there any program that will conveniently delete everything that isn't the operating system? I have heard it is hard to actually delete stuff forever from a laptop, since 'deleting' really only designates areas of the harddrive that are allowed to be rewritten?

I'm not entirely closed to the idea of reformatting and putting linux or something on it. It only has 1gb of ram and a 1.8 ghz processor, so it chugs pretty badly on Windows 7. Still I'd like a less time consuming method than this, and if I end up returning it to my brother he'll probably want Windows 7.

I also have another even older laptop which I'd like to do the same thing with (although it's probably too trashy to give away, I don't feel like smashing it to bits).

Thanks a lot for any advice you can give me. When I say personal data, I basically mean pictures, docs, those random thumbnails of everything that somehow show up hidden folder within folder within folder of various program's folders, games, programs I've installed over the years etc. Essentially how could I make it like new (in terms of the presence of files).
  • 0

Advertisements


#2
rshaffer61

rshaffer61

    Moderator

  • Moderator
  • 34,114 posts
Who is the manufacturer of the laptop?
You could use the recovery partition and take it back to a factory new state with Vista.
  • 0

#3
Wumbo

Wumbo

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
It's a Toshiba. Taking it back to Vista sounds like a bad idea haha. I checked for recovery states, but I only have ones dating back to a year or so ago with microsoft updates. I think my brother reformatted it more than once without any regard for something like this... Maybe he still has the disks for Windows 7. If he does, should I just reformat the drive and install Windows 7, do a simple disk wipe of the free space and be set?

So far I've deleted everything in the libraries which is fairly easy, and a few things in program files, but I know you will always miss something trying to manually delete stuff this way...

Edited by Wumbo, 22 December 2012 - 05:22 PM.

  • 0

#4
rshaffer61

rshaffer61

    Moderator

  • Moderator
  • 34,114 posts
If you want to keep Win7 then yes you will need the OS installation disk. Taking it back to Vista would put it back like it was brand new. You do realize that loading Win7 on it you then would have to provide the disk and serial number for the new owner since you would be selling a preinstalled OS.
  • 0

#5
Wumbo

Wumbo

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
I wouldn't sell it at all. I could never ask for money for a piece of junk like this. Anyway, I couldn't find the windows 7 disks... I guess I will just hope I got all the critical data and put it away -.-

On the upside when I started the ever older laptop I realised it had XP on it. Man it runs fast once it has started up... It's so old the monitor is 4:3 lol. I was really impressed, so I guess I'll just try to get rid of the most obvious personal data and put that one away too... Kinda shows how big a mistake Vista and Win7 are if you don't have a very powerful computer...

It is a shame there is no popular tool to just delete everything that isn't standard on a system, I would have thought there was a demand for such a thing. It can't be that rare that someone gets a new laptop and donates their old one. I've had a new one for awhile and am just getting tired of the old ones taking up space. But there's always someone young who just wants a word processor.
  • 0

#6
Wolfeymole

Wolfeymole

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,929 posts
If you want to eradicate abosolutely everything on that hard drive Wumbo then use this mate...

Killdisk

or this

DBan

Edited by Wolfeymole, 23 December 2012 - 03:41 AM.

  • 0

#7
rshaffer61

rshaffer61

    Moderator

  • Moderator
  • 34,114 posts
The factory recovery partition does what you are asking about but it reinstalls the original OS and programs. The only way to do what you want to do and keep Win7 is to go through and uninstall everything you don't want to include with giving away the laptop or Format it with Win7 and do a fresh install that way. Without the Win7 disks you have to depend on the sticker that should be located on the bottom of the laptop with the original OS and serial number on it.
  • 0

#8
Wumbo

Wumbo

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
Moving it back to Vista wouldn't be the WORST thing, but like I said there's no such recovery state. My brother reformatted it when he put Windows 7 on there. Unless there is something else?
  • 0

#9
rshaffer61

rshaffer61

    Moderator

  • Moderator
  • 34,114 posts
Please do the following so we can verify it.



Go to Start then to Run
Type in compmgmt.msc and click Enter
On left side click on Disk Management
On right side you will see you hard drive.
Male sure the window is open all the way on the top right so I can see all the info it has.
Now I need you to take a screenshot and attach it to your next reply. Do the following to take a screenshot while the above is open and showing on your desktop.

To do a screenshot please have click on your Print Screen on your keyboard. It is normally the key above your number pad between the F12 key and the Scroll Lock key
Now go to Start and then to All Programs
Scroll to Accessories and then click on Paint
In the Empty White Area click and hold the CTRL key and then click the V
Go to the File option at the top and click on Save as
Save as file type JPEG and save it to your Desktop
Make sure the window is open all the way so I can see everything on the top right window.


Attach it to your next reply
  • 0

#10
Wolfeymole

Wolfeymole

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,929 posts
If you use Killdisk or DBan then you are left with a virgin hard drive that any operating system can be used on.

There will be no vestiges of prior information on the drive whatsoever.

Anyone can then install any OS to it depending on the system specifications of course.
  • 0

Advertisements


#11
Wumbo

Wumbo

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
Here you go. Trying to use FireFox with this machine reminds me why I got a new one! Poor thing takes struggles to load anything. It's shame because the screen is really nice on it.

You can ignore the ubuntu disc... It won't give me any dialogue to run it on bootup. But that is a problem for another forum (I guess it would probably work if I did a killdisc thing).

As it turns out there is a recovery partition? But I wonder when it is from. You may have been right after all~

Attached Thumbnails

  • mgmt.png

  • 0

#12
rshaffer61

rshaffer61

    Moderator

  • Moderator
  • 34,114 posts
Per Wumbo's original post:

I would just reformat it, but I don't have any OS disks to do that. It is Windows 7, but used to be Vista (it used to be my brothers, and he hoped this would make it faster for some reason).

This is why I am so trying to figure out what the hd actually is setup as.
  • 0

#13
rshaffer61

rshaffer61

    Moderator

  • Moderator
  • 34,114 posts
Your recovery partition is still there. Though it will load Vista there will be no personal data left on the system when you give it away.

Toshiba:

To access the recovery partition do the following...

Power off the laptop.
Hold down the 0 (zero) key and turn the laptop on. Keep holding down the zero key until the TOSHIBA logo appears.
Start tapping the zero key repeatedly at this point.
Stop if the unit beeps or when the TOSHIBA logo disappears.
The screen should flash HDD RECOVERY MODE for a second and then it will load the Toshiba recovery program right from the hard drive.
Note that this erases all data, and reloads all factory default software.


  • 0

#14
Wolfeymole

Wolfeymole

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,929 posts
Why is the 5.26GB drive not allocated with a file structure?
  • 0

#15
Wumbo

Wumbo

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
No idea!

It's interesting, this recovery program on start up gives you the option to just erase the hard drive and all partitions too (I guess what killdisc would do). I chose to reset it to factory default, I'll let you know what happens when it is done. Maybe I'll check if the older laptop has such a recovery partition too while I'm waiting.
  • 0






Similar Topics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

As Featured On:

Microsoft Yahoo BBC MSN PC Magazine Washington Post HP